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Messages - Daniel W

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Gemini PDA - General Discussion / Re: How robust is a Gemini?
« on: August 17, 2021, 07:56:11 am »
I have a similar experience as jakfish. While my x25 Gemini is a somewhat crude first generation product, the typing experience isn't the best (not sure if later batches are any different), and the lack of a proper rear camera meant I kept carrying my old phone around too, my Gemini worked well during the nearly two years I used it frequently.

Since then, it has, still in good order, been in storage, as I am now using a Cosmo, which came from the factory with tiny hairline cracks around a few of the magnets, and parts of the middle hinge has spontaneously fallen off, though neither has affected its usability. While I can't say for sure that the Cosmo is less durable than the Gemini, I can, at least, say that the Cosmo does not appear to be any more robust than the Gemini.

Both are clamshell devices and, as such, a bit more delicate than monoblock phones. As the small quantities means the Planet phones must be fairly cheaply made, by a third party, there are some quality issues with both, so whether you get a good one or not, seems to depend a bit more on luck than it would, were you to go with a major brand.

As the latest (last?) Gemini firmware available is from May 2019, I would, due to the lack of Android security updates, currently only recommend the Gemini for Linux use.

Network coverage specifications were included in the "Astro Slide Campaign - Week 42 Update". It was sent by email as backer update #17 on January 11, and is also available here

In, short, these frequencies and bands are listed as supported:
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G WCDMA/HSPA+/UMTS: B1/2/5/6/8
3G CDMA/CDMA-EVDO1X: BC0(800MHz)/BC1(1900MHz)
4G TDD-LTE: B34/B38/B39/40/41(Full)
4G LTE bands: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B38/B39/B40/B41/B66/B71
5G bands: N1/N3/N28/N38/N41/N77/N78/N79
As this list is six months old, you may have to ask Planet if it's still valid.

On its own, that bunch of numbers might not say all that much. These lists might be helpful:

Though, as you write that carriers are changing frequencies for the 5G rollout, those lists might not be up to date or may not accurately predict the near future. Perhaps your carrier can tell you which bands they will have support for.

The Gemini supports relatively few bands, so whether it will or won't be supported, might not be a good indicator of Astro support. Overall, the Astro is, according to Planet, supposed to cover enough bands to, provided a valid SIM card, basically work in all countries that has a cellphone network. Then again, I suppose, there is a bit of marketing speak in that statement. Best of luck.


The bottom of a Cosmo pops off the same way as the top (and bottom) of a Gemini. On my particular Cosmo, I don't even need any particular tool, a few fingernails does the job for me, but it should be safe to use the Gemini tool, or a corner of some old credit card (or similar) that you don't care too much about.

While I don't have much insight to share, and my own CoDi is working (though it's buggy), I think it could be helpful for others, if you would post some pictures from the replacement process, perhaps in a separate thread, with a descriptive name, like "How to replace the CoDi [pictures]", to make it easier for anyone interested to find it.

For what it's worth, I do experience random reboots, but fairly seldom, maybe once a month or so, but I haven't thought much about whether they are related to my CoDi. Up until CoDi FW, my CoDi used to crash maybe five times a day. On it went down to maybe three and on it usually works for several days between crashes. When it does crash, it usually gets stuck showing either the Planet logo or nothing. Most of the times, I can just disable and re-enable the CoDi in the notifications shade, but once in a while, it just won't restart properly.

Those times, instead of waking up and showing the clock, it shows the "HELLO, I AM COSMO!" animation, as when the device is starting up, but then goes black again... Um, it just did that, right now... what a coincidence(?) Come to think about it, once that happens, the whole device has a tendency to, shortly thereafter, either reboot or hang... which it did right now... so, well, maybe there is a connection... um.

Anyway, I was going ask, if you have tried leaving the ribbon cable connected and just turned your CoDi off in the settings? If you did, would your device still randomly reboot? If it did, is it still doing that, after you disconnected the ribbon cable? It is my understanding that some people here, aren't using their CoDi at all, and if physically disconnecting it could improve overall system stability, I suppose some of them might want to know about it.

Cosmo Communicator - Android / Re: HDMI audio output
« on: June 04, 2021, 10:01:45 am »

I just connected my Cosmo (running the v25 Android build) to a Grundig 46 VLE 7239 WR television set (a rather basic model from 2013) using the Planet USB-C to HMDI adapter cable and a regular HDMI cable. Both devices were on when I connected the cable, but no audio was playing. Without doing anything in particular, except turning the volume all the way up on the Cosmo, I could then play sound via the TV. I tried both the pre-installed YouTube app, as well as a mobile sort-of-DAW (Caustic) and had no issues with either.

That, with a sample size of one, just says that it can work, but doesn't say much about why it isn't currently working for you. The following is, thus, just me thinking in text. If you have been able to get HDMI sound output on the TV from other devices, using the same HDMI cable (not the Planet adapter), we know that cable is good. If you have been able to get HDMI sound via the same HDMI connector on the TV, we know that connector is good.

As the behaviour changed when you removed and reconnected the cable, presumably while playing audio, that might suggest there is some protocol handshake involved that, under certain circumstances, can give different results. Perhaps the Cosmo can't reroute an audio stream to HDMI while it's playing? If so, that would likely apply, even if some (potentially misbehaving) app is effectively outputting silence. Just to make sure there isn't something in the background trying to play sound prior to connecting the cable, I'd try rebooting the Cosmo.

If possible, try another TV or a computer monitor with speakers and/or a headphone output. Just to be sure, check that the connectors are in good condition. Especially the USB-C connectors has a tendency to gather pocket lint. If you have a suitable magnifier, it might be worth checking the male USB C connector (in the Planet adapter) for bent or otherwise damaged pins. They are, after all, like 0.2mm wide with a 0.3mm spacing, so while they are protected inside a metal casing, they are quite delicate (the only, even smaller, connector I know of, is HDMI type D "Micro").

Astro Slide - Hardware / Re: Fast charging
« on: May 13, 2021, 07:19:29 pm »
The Gemini and Cosmo both uses the really old PumpExpress+ (essentially version 1.0), presumably because it's cheap. Until we either get further details from Planet or the Astro starts shipping, I guess they'll use the same old version with the Astro, so they can keep using the same type of wall chargers for the Astro as well.

The marketing says that the Astro will have up to 10W wireless charging, which may have forced them to use something newer. Then again, the power bricks for the Gemini and Cosmo can deliver 2A at 5V, without any particular handshake, and that equals 10W, so my guess is that wireless charging of the Astro won't use any particular fast charging at all, while charging via cable will use the same (up to) 1.67A at 9V = 15W PumpExpress+ as the previous devices.

Astro Slide - Hardware / Re: Planet USB-C to HDMI Video Cable
« on: May 13, 2021, 06:33:39 pm »
While only a partial answer, Planet has stated that MediaTek, the company making the SoC for the Planet devices, uses a proprietary non-standard solution to output HDMI via a USB type C connector, which means a standard HDMI alt mode USB type-C to HDMI cable will not work.

Though I do have a Planet HDMI cable, I don't have proper equipment to examine how the pins are connected. As I suppose the cable offered by Planet is MediaTek-specific rather than Planet-specific, maybe an USB type-C to HDMI cable for some other phone, based on a MediaTek SoC could work, provided any other phone maker, using MediaTek chips, supports HDMI out.

I doubt the exact USB and HDMI versions matters much. On the Gemini and Cosmo, the HMDI out can only output their native resolution of 2160x1080 and only at 60p. A qualified guess would be that the Astro will also only output its native resolution (2340x1080) at 60p. While the aspect ratio is odd, which might affect display compatibility, the required bitrate should fit within the HDMI 1.0 specification of (from 2002).

There are a few threads here on OESF mentioning a "USB-C to HDMI DisplayLink" (not to be confused with DisplayPort) adapter. DisplayLink seems to be an external graphics chip, thus requiring an app to work. As I don't have any particular knowlege to share, I can only recommend, should you be interested, that you use the search feature, in the top right corner and read what others has to say.

Astro Slide - General Discussion / Re: The Astro Accessories
« on: May 13, 2021, 03:46:15 pm »
I have sent an e-mail to Planet, asking for specifications on the pen... I will, of course, share any answer from them... Otherwise, I might back it blindly.
Sixteen days later, no reply. I'm neither surprised nor upset. I suppose they don't know at this point and they are likely quite busy, trying to make the Astro happen ASAP. Anyway, as I am curious about how the Astro Active Stylus compares to my Adonit Dash 3 and I do want some case, even if rather basic, I just backed the "New Astro Accessories Pack".

Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / Re: Codi firmware
« on: May 09, 2021, 01:18:32 pm »
Personally, I just hope newer CoDi firmwares will crash less often.
Well, this is me, some ten days later. Firmware and earlier, used to crash my CoDi, five or so, times per day, making it pretty much "a broken feature", as another thread describes it. I noticed some improvement with and has, so far, been stable for me. Yay.

Well, after using for ten days, my total CoDi Crash Count for that period, is, as far as I can recall, zero. That's a big deal for me, as that actually makes the CoDi, again, for me, quite useful. Maybe it could have a more features and some of the features it already has, could perhaps be implemented in a better way. Still, hearing my phone ring and be able to have a reasonable expectation of the CoDi actually showing me who's calling, rather than just having crashed again, undoubtedly makes my Cosmo more useful.

Edit: A week or two later, I had my first CoDi crash on and, shortly thereafter, a bogus "there's a new version" notification. I have, so far, only had one of those and, maybe three CoDi crashes a week, on average. At one point, I had three in two days, then it seemed to get its act together a bit better again. Not sure what's going on. I'm really only using the CoDi for caller Id and as a clock. The few calls I'm making are always initiated from the main UI and I always read incoming messages on the main screen. Basically I'm using the CoDi as little as I can get away with.

Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / Re: CoDi is a broken feature at this point
« on: April 30, 2021, 01:18:27 pm »
For reference, my CoDi randomly hangs, multiple times a day, on the Planet logo, a distorted menu or, more rarely, a distorted logo. Then, it just shows the logo or nothing, until turned off and on again from the main screen shortcut. As I like to keep the brightness down, which it forgets when restarted, restoring that setting, gets boring really soon. As I do keep restarting it, though, I am, apparently, finding it somewhat useful, even in its present state. Or I'm just a programmer, used to things not quite working.

Maybe the update to made it a bit less unstable. I feel like I'm down from about five to three restarts a day. As I upgraded to so recently, I can't say how it performs yet, though I am, obviously, hoping for the best.

My contact list doesn't get cut off, which might be because mine only has 60 or so contacts, with around 90 numbers in total. Maybe there's a limit to how many contacts the (very limited) computer running the CoDi can handle? If so, maybe forcing users with "too many" contacts to pick a first letter and then only show those contacts, would be a feasible workaround?

I do find it bothersome that it wakes up for non-events, such as when Google Play or Airmail merely looks for updates or mail. Ideally, those apps should have their own settings to only notify when they found something, but even then, I'd still like a notification filter (in Android) for the CoDi. For example, while I do want new mail notifications on the CoDi, as there might be a human awaiting my response, I do not want app update notifications on the CoDi, only on the main screen.

I would find it helpful if I could significantly lower the CoDi timeout, from its default 40 seconds, to, say, 10, so non sense distractions, at least, would go away sooner. As it is now, I feel compelled to use the "silver button" to put it back to sleep, whenever it shows something less than useful, which is often. Many times though, it will immediately wake up again, because checking email wasn't quite done or whatever. If I have explicitly told it to go back to sleep, it would be useful if it could ignore that particular type of notification for the next minute or so.

It would also be helpful if the camera preview wouldn't lag so badly. Currently, it appears to show a qVGA (240x320) picture at ~2fps, with multiple seconds of lag. As it can only ever be used for coarse framing, I'd much rather have, say a 120x160 or even 60x80 pixel preview (I mean, look at my avatar, that's 29x29), if that could get me a better frame rate with (much) less lag.

Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / Re: Codi firmware
« on: April 28, 2021, 06:25:54 pm »
None that I can see. It downloaded quickly and for me, it installed on only four attempts in flight mode, with DND and the CoDi off. The resources appears to be the same as in so it only flashed the actual firmware.

I do notice that I can get an on-CoDi kind-of keyboard to quickly jump to a particular letter in my contacts, rather than being forced to scroll all the way. Not sure how long that has been there, as I rarely make phone calls from the CoDi, or at all, for that matter.

Personally, I just hope newer CoDi firmwares will crash less often.

Astro Slide - General Discussion / Re: The Astro Accessories
« on: April 28, 2021, 08:10:23 am »
Yes, some kind of flip case should be possible, basically the Astro clear case with an attached flap to cover the front of the device, a bit like the image below. There could be a sheet of clear plastic in the opening on the flap, such that it would still allow interaction with the touch screen. To avoid having to make a special GUI (we all know how that would go) to fit the opening, the window could cover most of the front, such that, at least, phone calls could be handled with the flap closed.

Such a design should make it possible to use the keyboard with the case still attached. On a table or similar, the flap would simply lay flat, behind the screen. I would like some means of keeping the flap reliably closed, such that it cannot open by accident, and thus fail its primary purpose, if the device is dropped with the case closed.

Redmi 6A Golden Згори
Nickispeaki, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Astro Slide - General Discussion / The Astro Accessories
« on: April 27, 2021, 09:28:44 am »
In Astro update #28, a bunch of accessories, now available on the Astro Indiegogo page, were announced. Does anyone here recognize the active pen? I can't imagine Planet Computers had a brand new model developed just for them. I'd rather presume they've put their branding on some existing model.

I have sent an e-mail to Planet, asking for specifications on the pen, such as size, weight, how it's charged, battery runtime, standby time, tip diameter etc, to help me determine whether their pen would be a suitable upgrade from my current pen (an Adonit Dash 3). I will, of course, share any answer from them here.

As I don't really expect to get that much useful information from them, though, should someone here recognize the Planet pen as some existing model, I'd like to know, as that would make it easier for me, and others, to evaluate it. Otherwise, I might back it blindly, but I'd prefer to know a bit more about it, if possible.

Gemini PDA - Android / Re: Official Gemini HDMI Cable Not Working
« on: March 27, 2021, 11:34:38 am »
Out of curiosity, I tried disabling the "App bar" app in the settings, and, sure enough, after that, the home screen would stay in landscape mode.

One does, of course, lose the app bar, which means nothing happens when pressing the just the Alt key. Personally, I regard that as an improvement, so I'm leaving it that way. The Shift + Fn + R shortcut also stops working, which, for me, is a tad of a bummer. On the other hand, with the app bar disabled, the regular Android auto-rotation, by tilting the device, works, provided it is on in the settings, and for me that's enough, I think.

Oh, well, this wasn't supposed to be about screen rotation, so let's stop here. I hope you can get your adapter working.

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